The Globe & Mail

July 19, 1969

Blind Faith is far from leftover Cream


Many people went to Varsity Stadium last night hoping to witness whipped-over Cream. They wanted to see guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker re-working 12-bar blues in exquisite Cream fashion. Probably, they also wanted to see Steve Winwood and Rick Grech, two new faces not from the Cream lineup, to support Clapton and Baker in a Creamy concert. About 5,000 attended.

In these respects, they were disappointed, but they nevertheless went away happy. Blind Faith, the new super group, was not only better than Cream but a far sight more imaginative, novel and, therefore, more interesting.

Winwood, a 21-year-old pop prodigy (nurtured through the heavy days of Spencer Davis and Traffic), with enough talent to stand up with anyone in pop (Hendrix included), was not just the anticipated organist, guitarist and singer of good quality.

He was outstanding, and in several songs completely stole the limelight from Clapton and Baker. That was inevitable: he sang the first six songs of the night, and also played guitar and organ. Baker was content to grind out a crashing beat while Clapton demurely gurgled his guitar through some splendid blues riffs.

Winwood’s voice - a throaty and whining instrument - was perfectly suited to the subtle melody changes. In the fifth song, I Found a Place to Live, it was the final farewell to Cream.

At that point there was no longer any doubt that Blind Faith had curdled Cream.

In the end, Cream had done the same old songs, chord changes, the same gig night after night. But Blind Faith is refreshingly different.

The songs were so removed from traditional blues: they were more of simple but elastic rock ‘n’ roll than Muddy Waters or Robert Johnston.

The sound was excellent, but I was sitting a bare three feet from the resounding speakers.

Baker’s drumming churned through like an egg beater; Clapton’s guitar was like streaks of raw electricity; Grech’s bass throbbed like a poisoned finger; Winwood was overpowering.

Will Blind Faith remain intact? Or are we to go through Cream-like changes?

As long as the band can make music as it did last night, I see no reason why Blind Faith will not share the pop pantheon with gods like Hendrix and Winter.

Blind Faith was preceded by Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, which for want of a better term, could only have been described as a white gospel set.

Delaney and Bonnie, husband and wife, produced some notable winners, especially Do Right Woman and Get Yourself Together. Bonnie was a visual and vocal treat and with Delaney presented the best white blues sound in pop since the Righteous Brothers. If only the drummer had been able to belt on the beat.

Opening the show was Taste, a trio from Ireland, which was erratic. Some numbers were outstanding, others mediocre. Including from the band’s first Atco album, we really got only a taste of Taste.